One of the world’s iconic watercourses, the River Nile – northern Africa’s lifeblood – has sustained local populations for millennia. Halcrow is taking initial steps towards helping Ethiopian riparian communities secure a stable water supply, through infrastructure development and improved resource management.
The project includes feasibility studies for irrigation and drainage projects spanning some 80,000ha in Ethiopia’s Nile Basin region. Funded by the World Bank the £4 million studies comprise three water management schemes focused around the Nile’s source, Lake Tana – 112km wide and fed by more than 40 tributaries.
As well as boosting the productivity of small holder and commercial farms, serving to alleviate rural poverty and boost agricultural production, these proposed schemes offer the prospect of sustainable economic diversification in the Horn of Africa – with proposed developments carefully balanced against environmental and social factors.
Set to improve Ethiopia’s food security, this work represents a tangible example of Halcrow’s recently launched water scarcity strategy, which articulates the company’s commitment to the fight against global water scarcity. Some 2.8 billion people – 40 per cent of the world’s population – live in areas where there is either insufficient water to meet basic needs, or which lack the funds required to effectively exploit available water supplies.
Ongoing social and economic development
Halcrow’s involvement in the Nile Basin project is the latest in a series of significant commissions recently undertaken in Ethiopia. Others include the Awash Basin flood control and catchment management project and the Rift Valley Lakes Basin (RVLB) integrated resources development master plan.